Home / Front Page/ RTI invoked to expose Army support to remanded suspects and spying on public officers

RTI invoked to expose Army support to remanded suspects and spying on public officers

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 27 February 2017 00:30

A wide-ranging Right to Information Act request was filed with the Army on Saturday, requesting details of how state resources have been used to aid soldiers and officers accused of attacks on media personnel and to confirm or deny whether the army has spied on the police and public officers investigating those attacks.

The request, filed by Sunday Leader journalist Nirmala Kannangara, covers “legal, financial and personal assistance” including “advice, money and material resources” with a special focus on the practice of retaining private lawyers to appear for suspects and paying for their fees with public funds. 

The request also seeks information on any army involvement in physical or electronic surveillance of “police officers, prosecutors, magistrates or other public functionaries involved in investigating, prosecuting, or ruling” on the criminal investigations into the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda, the assault on Upali Tennekoon and the abduction and assault of Keith Noyahr.

The purpose of the request, it reads, is to discover “whether funds of the state, or other material resources or state services including in particular the services of serving military personnel have been mobilised for the purpose of defending, protecting, supporting or advancing the interests of military personnel who are alleged, suspected or accused of having committed serious criminal offences which in no way could be attributed to protecting national security or countering terrorism.”

According to the RTI Act, the army would have 14 days to respond to the request with a decision to either provide the requested information or reject it, and then a further 14 days to provide the information if the request is approved.

While no legal basis exists for any state entity to spend public funds or utilise Government resources to defend public servants facing criminal charges, several reports have suggested that the army may have made exception for military intelligence officers facing criminal charges for the murder, disappearance, assault and abduction of journalists.

Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Unless addressed, wages issue will keep troubling Bangladesh’s garment industry

Saturday, 19 January 2019

The recent week-long mass protests by garment workers in Bangladesh came to an end after an upward revision of wages for six classes of workers. But even after the upward revision, the Bangladeshi garment worker gets less than what workers in compara

Is GDP the ideal metric of the future?

Friday, 18 January 2019

In an age of stark contradictions, we live in a world where the exclusive 1% enjoy access to an abundance of wealth and resources but also a world where a billion people scarcely have enough to eat and have limited access to health and education. Whi

Evaluation of economic performance: 4 years into Yahapalana Government

Friday, 18 January 2019

The Yahapalana Government completed four years on 8 January this year. The four-year journey was a rough ride with a clear rift between the President and the UNP; the ruling party. The Government continues to face severe criticism from both inside an

Elimination of bribery and corruption

Friday, 18 January 2019

Bribery and corruption can be regarded as a malicious cancer that has penetrated into almost every strata of Sri Lankan state. It can be considered a major factor affecting Sri Lanka’s poverty, backwardness and indebtedness. Abuse of power by thos

Columnists More